Saturday, May 26, 2012

Respect requires honesty

It’s no secret that I have zero respect for Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for US President. This is partly because he’s never met a position on an issue he doesn’t like, so it’s impossible to know what he really thinks about anything. But the main reason that I don’t respect him is that he lies—a lot.

Plenty of others have been making quite a career out of debunking Romney’s distortions and falsehoods, but among them is one that I kind of think is hilarious: His claiming that President Obama’s been on a reckless spending spree.

The truth, as is so often the case, is not on Romney’s side.

The chart with this post comes from a column on The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch. It shows that the growth in Federal spending under President Obama is far less than his four predecessors as president. Another chart on the site shows how federal spending has flattened under Obama, growing at an annualised rate of just 0.4%. That’s hardly a “spending spree”—in fact, practically the opposite.

Romney and the Republicans get it so wrong because they attribute the money from Bush’s last budget to Obama, who took office while that budget was still in place. Never mind Bush’s last budget was passed by a previous Congress and beyond the control of Obama, they still add it to his total because it had to do with the stimulus. Or something (Republican logic, so-called, is often difficult to follow).

But fair’s fair: If Republicans want to add Bush’s spending onto Obama’s totals, then they surely must want to add Bush’s “off the books” spending two wars and Medicare Part D to his totals, right? After all, they weren’t included in his budgets. Oh, that’s right, they need to try to make Obama look bad, so they can’t be honest about the Bush record.

The reason I think this is so funny is that the falsehoods of Romney and the Republicans are demonstrably, provably wrong—totally. Why bother lying about something that can be checked so easily?

The fact that Romney changes positions faster than a chameleon can change colour, combined with his continual insistence on stating obvious falsehoods adds up to a lack of respect for Romney and his party. Respect requires honesty—Romney and the Republicans should try it sometime.

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